Baseboards can easily be overlooked in our cleaning routines. However, they can quickly accumulate dust, pet hair, and dirt over time. Since baseboards are so close to the floor, they attract grime and do need to be cleaned and dusted regularly.
Cleaning your baseboards can be a simple task, adding only a few minutes to your cleaning routine. You don’t necessarily need to bend or kneel in order to clean your baseboards, either.
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Clean Your Baseboards in Ten Minutes
Aside from collecting dust and pet hair, baseboards can also get dirty very quickly. They can easily be scuffed by furniture or shoes, as well as bearing the brunt of mud splashes, especially baseboards near a doorway or high-traffic area. Often, we forget about our baseboards, and by the time we remember, they’re well overdue for a good scrub.
If you aren’t able to clean your baseboards yourself, professional baseboard cleaning is available, with the prices ranging at about $0.27-$0.33 per linear foot. Domestic cleaners often include regular baseboard cleaning in their services. For many people, however, this isn’t really an option. Fortunately, cleaning your own baseboards can be easy and not time consuming at all.
Regular cleaning of your baseboards will save you from spending a long time scrubbing at stubborn stains. If you add the baseboards of each room to your cleaning routine, it should only take you a few minutes, likely no more than five. Clean the baseboards last, after you’ve finished the rest of the room. Otherwise, more dirt and dust will stick to the boards and undo all your hard work.
Prepare your baseboards for washing by removing the dust. You can use a handheld duster for this, or use the vacuum hose. The more thoroughly you dust, the easier it will be to wash later. You may need to move some furniture away from the wall to clean all of the baseboards. However, this doesn’t need to be part of your daily cleaning routine, as long as it’s done every now and then.
How you wash your baseboards will depend on what type of board you have. Is it painted, stained, or wooden? If in doubt, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the baseboards. Dry the boards immediately afterward.
Use a cotton swab to get into the corners and areas where the baseboard meets the floor. You might not need to do this every time you dust and clean your baseboards, but if you have a patterned or carved baseboard, you will likely need to dust and clean a little more thoroughly.
Cleaning Painted, Stained, or Natural Wood Baseboards
A well-fitted, attractive baseboard can finish off a room beautifully. Natural wood and painted baseboards are very popular. However, they do need to be cleaned differently.
Natural wood or stained baseboards
Natural wood needs to be treated very carefully; never use harsh chemicals. Dust and wipe down your baseboards as you usually do, then dry the wood. It’s wise to invest in a wood cleaner or a mineral oil. Use a clean cloth to wipe down the baseboards afterward, to remove any excess.
You can use a simple combination of vinegar and dish soap to wipe down painted baseboards. Do be careful, as vigorous scrubbing can wear away paint over time, as can harsh chemicals. A Magic Eraser can help to move stubborn dirt splashes or scuff marks.
Baseboard Cleaning Tools and Products
You can use a basic duster and a clean, damp cloth to clean your baseboards, but there are plenty of tools available to make this job easier.
One of the simplest tools to use is a microfiber Baseboard Buddy cleaning mop. It has a small, adjustable head which can be used to clean baseboards, door frames, and various other nooks and crannies. Some basic floor mops have adjustable heads that can be used to wipe down your baseboards as you mop the adjacent floor.
There are commercial cleaning sprays suitable for baseboards, but be careful. When it comes to cleaning painted, stained, or natural wooden surfaces, some products can cause damage. Products containing bleach are not suitable for cleaning baseboards.
If in doubt, use a simple mixture of warm water and a mild dish soap. Vinegar can be used for a more thorough clean. Mix one cup of vinegar to four or five cups of warm water, and add to a spray bottle. This is a simple and effective cleaning solution that you can use for more than just your baseboards!
Baby wipes can also be used for cleaning baseboards. Other cleaning wipes may be suitable, but be sure to check first. Not all cleaning wipes may work well with painted, stained, or natural wood. Using wipes a good way to “spot clean” your baseboards. It’s quick and easy, and good for quickly wiping away that fresh spot of mud or a bit of spilled food.
Cleaning Baseboards Without Bending or Kneeling
One big obstacle to getting squeaky-clean baseboards is that they can be difficult to reach. Getting down on one’s hands and knees to clean the nooks and crannies of our baseboards is simply not a practical option for many people.
This could be due to a bad back, painful knees, or any number of health conditions. Even if you don’t suffer with anything like this, prolonged kneeling on a hard surface, or bending over in an uncomfortable position to clean can cause health problems over time.
If kneeling on a hard floor is unavoidable, be sure to use a cushion or some kind of padding. However, when it comes to cleaning your baseboards, you may not have to bend or kneel at all.
When you dust your baseboards, use a long-handled duster, a vacuum, or even a broom. This means you can wipe away dust very quickly without needing to bend. It’s also a quick addition to your cleaning routine, so dust and dirt isn’t building up on the baseboards. This means less cleaning in the long run.
Now it’s time to wash down your baseboards. Dusting does remove a lot of visible dirt and dust, but to keep your baseboards properly clean, you will need to use water and a cleaning solution.
To avoid bending or kneeling, use a long-handled mop, or a tool designed specifically for cleaning baseboards. These tools are essentially a sponge on a stick, long enough for you to wipe down your baseboards properly and comfortably from a standing position.
It’s a good idea to fill a bucket with warm water and your cleaning product of choice, so that you can dip your mop or tool into the bucket as you go. Organization and preparation make a cleaning routine go smoothly and quickly.
If you don’t have anything like this, you could make your own baseboard cleaning tool by securing a microfiber cloth around a broom or duster with a couple of elastic bands
Baseboard Cleaning Tips and Tricks
Cleaning baseboards isn’t exactly fun, but it can and should be an important part of a cleaning routine. As always, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to make it a little easier.
When you use your duster to wipe away cobwebs and dust from the upper corners of the room and the lampshades, run the duster along the baseboards. This should only take a minute or two, and it will go a long way to keeping down the dust. Especially in a room that isn’t likely to get muddy or scuffed, this might mean that you don’t need to wash your baseboards as frequently.
Use dryer sheets
Dryer sheets may seem like an odd tool to have as part of your cleaning routine, but you can use them for dusting baseboards and preventing dust from building up so quickly.
You don’t need to use a brand-new dryer sheet; you can use the sheet in your dryer first, then reuse it to wipe down your baseboards. The dryer sheets have an anti-static effect. This is useful for your clothes in the dryer, but also for keeping dust away from the baseboards for as long as possible.
Add baseboard cleaning to your routine
Spending a few extra minutes cleaning your baseboards will save you from a long scrub later on. This means that dust, grease, and dirt don’t have time to accumulate on your baseboards. Moving around furniture to clean the baseboards behind can be a bigger job, but try and make time for this, too. It doesn’t have to be as regular as your usual baseboard cleaning, but remember that baseboards behind the sofa get dusty too!
Invest in a baseboard cleaning tool or suitable mop
If scrubbing at the baseboards with a damp cloth isn’t your thing, a good tool or mop will make the cleaning process much quicker and easier. If necessary, you can go over the baseboards with a cotton swab or something similar to get into the nooks and crannies. Cleaning baseboards doesn’t have to be a headache.